Friday, December 11, 2009

Winter Season ~ Paris 1939/Carmel 2009

Now, that the entire US seems headed for a coat-ing of snow, I figured it was time to take cover. I come from the land down under. During my six years in Australia, (also known to some as the homeland of Ugg boots), I hardly wore a jacket, much less a coat. I love vintage couture, and while dreaming of a White Christmas, I found these winter coats gracing the pages of a Parisian fashion magazine from 1939.

How perfectly they illustrate the adage that “everything old is new again”. Wrapped up in one of these, I would be quite comfortable promenading the boulevards of Paris, the streets of San Francisco, or even Carmel.

The jury, however, is still out on the turban and the cone hats.

But I do like the fur touches. They remind me of Willow’s famous fur hat.

I still have fond memories of a rock-star of a Canadian sheepskin coat, that I once owned. It cost the earth, but wearing it, I made quite a statement, and it was so warm to boot. Once, when we lived in Europe, an overzealous salesperson talked me into buying a lined Burberry coat, in a size too small for me. I never felt comfortable wearing it, feeling more a Viennese sausage, than a Sloane Ranger.

Living in Beijing, I became a devotee of China prêt-à-porter. I went all out for jackets with mandarin collars and knotted buttons.

During the day, my uniform was a simple Red Army green cotton jacket (from the touristy Silk Market),

or a Shanghai Tang green wool felt jacket.

Evenings, I went dramatic, with a glamorous black silk padded jacket in the Ming-style. I remember the pride I felt as I walked around the Chinese capitol city, as locals would give me a thumbs up of costume approval.

Many of the above garments returned with me. There have, however, been a few recent additions, such as a $25. Ralph Lauren trench coat (from a Carmel re-sale shop), and a classic Pendleton green wool tweed coat, with a B. Forman label (from my mother’s closet). I guess you know by now I am partial to the color green!

These chilly Carmel morns, I slip into my old friend, the black padded Chinese jacket, and walk to town. Just the other day, I got a fashion thumbs up from the owner of an Ocean Avenue boutique.

Now that’s a wrap,


  1. Hi Marjorie, I loved learning more about you. I really enjoyed this post. You have exquisite taste. I love that 2nd jacket down!

    Hope you have a wonderful weekend. :)

  2. I love the 1939 drawings, Marjorie and you're right. We could all wear any one of those coats today and would be in fashion. (I wouldn't wear real fur and I'm not over keen on faux fur either, but that's me !!)
    I don't think that you can go wrong with the Chinese padded jacket. It's beautiful and will never date. A great post, Marjorie. XXXX

  3. What a wonderful post as ever - such an interesting read.

  4. Those 1939 drawings are fabulous, Marjorie, and I feel like I've been on a mini vacation reading about the places you've lived and the wonderful coats you've worn. I adore that black Chinese jacket. No wonder it gets thumbs up! xo Gigi

  5. HI Marjorie
    Well I'm risking the snow to come over and reply.. but I suspect there will be a pc reboot in the immediate future!! haha

    Love all your choice of winter wear here... but must say... it is only a few aussies that still wear UGG boots [outside the home].. I remember thinking they were great.. when I was 13 hehehe...

    Have fun .. off to reboot the pc.. haha.. xx Julie

  6. Marjorie dear!!! Oh what an imaginative and well-written post! Now let me see here, you have lived and worked in many wonderful places of the world! What is your favorite place to live? I have lived in three different states and both New England and Minneapolis are wonderful places to live. But of course, Paris et ses environs has a quality, in all its imperfections, that lives on in the image and memory of a time when all thta was French was the rave. Your photos of those coats are great!!! Thank you for coming by to see my ballet for a friend. You are so kind...and I wish you a wonderful holiday season, Marjorie!

    Have a wonderful week! Anita

  7. WOW!! Marjorie, the drawings are beautiful but I love the labels, I made a small patchwork from labels once, I still have it.
    I don't think a lady can have too many coats, we need them for all sorts of occasions ha ha.
    Love Lynn xxx

  8. Marjorie..this was just lovely..I love the old photographs of the coats...and YES a thumbs up indeed...I LOVE The Pine Inn there and Casanovas Restaurant is a's been a while..I wonder if it's still good..always liked eating outside with the Christmas lights fun.....


  9. I just love those fashion illustrations. Beautiful.

  10. Marjorie,
    WOW you've lived everywhere.....what's it like out there:)) lol.....I'm in my own little world here and I'm just fascinated by all that you've experienced. The fashion, the travel the food....oh lets not forget the wine!!!
    I'm honored you even come visit my boring blog after reading yours but I'm so glad you do.
    I've been so busy many this time of year but I will need to catch up to all your previous posts.....I scrolled down them and the pics look fabulous!
    Hope your enjoying your holidays!

  11. Hi Marjorie,
    Loved this post! You have so much to share and tell us! Those drawings are fabulous and I would wear that Chinese jacket any day is classic. Thank you for stopping by and sharing in my excitement. I hope that you are enjoying the season! Take care, Laura

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